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IM to Have 100 Percent Usages But Poses High Risk

In 2006, Instant Messenger (IM) attacks increased by over 700%. Despite that all enterprises are preparing to use Instant Messaging by 2010, according to prediction by Gartner.

The analyst organization said enterprise-grade IM would penetrate to levels from the current 25% to almost 100% in another three years.

Meanwhile studies by security vendor MessageLabs have shown that infections due to worms, viruses and other malware spreading via IM rose to a massive 723% over the past 12 months. This finding is based on data covering periods January-March 2006 and January-March 2007.

The transmission of public IM is often in unencrypted form and through unidentified servers, said Graham Ingram, GM of AusCERT, in an interview.

The greater the use of IM, the more would be the chances of the conmen using it as a platform to gravitate. Already evidences suggest growth of IM as a vector. Therefore, it is important to look at IM closely, Graham said, as reported by Builderau on July 4, 2007.

IMs not only contain malware but sometimes offensive and even illegal contents that could go against regulatory guidelines. Hackers conveniently target IM programs because it is easy to exploit their vulnerabilities.

People send to their friends infected files like vacation photos and videos without any knowledge or bad intention but in the process spread viruses and worms.

According to Patrick Runald, senior security specialist at F-Secure, while IM is taking the place of e-mail, it is simultaneously causing risk to business and organizations, as reported by Zdnet on July 4, 2007.

An IM worm on a computer knows the different e-mail addresses, which are active online. It also knows the software in use that makes it capable of attacking any vulnerability in the program, according to Runald.

Users receiving an IM message from a known person assume it to be trustworthy, said Runald. But he suggests not to blindly trusting anything even if a friend sends it. It is also important to deploy security software and update both it and the IM software.

To combat new IM threats, Gartner advises people to use the services of security vendors like Facetime, Symantec/IM Logic or Akonix.

Related article: IM Has Various Problems

ยป SPAMfighter News - 19-07-2007

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